For a man valued at more than £40m last summer by Spurs chairman Daniel Levy, the Croatian midfielder is failing to put in the performances to inspire his side to top four finish
By Josh Clarke at Loftus Road
Much has been said and many statistics quoted on the issue of whether tiredness has been a contributive factor to Tottenham’s downward spiral.
According to some, Luka Modric and Gareth Bale may have been over-relied upon this season, both being the key figures in a starting XI that is shuffled on scant occasion.
Yet, for their boss Harry Redknapp, tiredness is but a fable. “Lionel Messi plays every game,” he said after the disappointing 1-0 defeat to QPR on Saturday.
“He doesn’t ever miss one - Ronaldo plays every game too. They are great players.
“John Terry has come out and played five games in 12 days, he didn’t show any signs of tiredness when I saw him play against Arsenal - it doesn’t seem to bother him.
“We make too much of that now. We’re putting in players’ minds now that they can’t play Saturday, Wednesday, Sunday because they’ll get too tired and you have to rest them. I think that’s an absolute load of nonsense.”
| PLAYER RATING
|6.0||Initiated most of what was good about Spurs with some intelligent ghosting forward and use of the ball but never really stamped his authority on the game.|
Modric was by no means the worst of the bunch in the tepid 1-0 defeat to relegation-threatened QPR at Loftus Road but, for a midfielder valued in that price bracket, surely much, much more is expected.
More often than not in recent weeks the Croatian has flattered to deceive. In a Tottenham side where the wide men are flying, there is time on the ball and things are looking rosy, Modric is a joy to behold; sitting deep and using the ball intelligently.
However, in an ugly fixture when things aren’t going quite as planned – for example maybe the last 10 or so Spurs have been involved in – Modric offers a lot less to the team.
He’s not a midfielder who’s going to get double figures in either goals or assists for the season. Neither is he a midfield general who’s going to break up play or dominate in a box-to-box manner.
It may be a glum assessment but the evidence given over the last few months suggest that Modric is a player whose most telling contributions come when those around him are at the top of their game. He won’t provide the spark so clearly needed for Spurs to attain the top four finish that Redknapp still feels so confident of restoring.Modric is not solely to blame for the predicament Spurs currently find themselves in, with multiple key figures failing to rise to the challenge against a QPR side that should have been well within their capabilities, putting in performances symptomatic of Tottenham in general this calendar year.
|"Tiredness is not the issue - Messi & Ronaldo play every game. We are putting in players’ minds now that they can’t play Saturday, Wednesday, Sunday and you have to rest them but that’s an absolute load of nonsense"
- Harry Redknapp
Against the Hoops, Bale was a non-entity throughout, while Rafael van der Vaart flitted in and out of the game from increasingly hopeless positions and even Scott Parker uncharacteristically lost his rag. Kyle Walker was the only player of the visiting team to really escape with any credibility.
Of course, some blame must rest with Redknapp for failing to get the best, tactically, out of his charges. No matter what Redknapp’s post-game assertions declared, this wasn’t a game Spurs deserved to win and indeed, if this is Spurs playing well, then a top four finish is certainly beyond them.
To make a start in overhauling rampant Newcastle, though, Spurs need to get key man Modric to grab things by the scruff of the neck and become a regular, decisive figure in games that look to be getting away from them. No less can be expected of a £40m man.